June 24, 2016
The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns about the harassment and imminent expulsion of lawyer Taimoor Karimi in Bahrain.
Taimoor Karimi is a Shi’ite Muslim lawyer who took part in Bahrain’s pro-democracy protests in 2011 and defended some of the prominent activists who were jailed afterwards. In 2014, Taimoor Karimi was one of 10 individuals whose Bahraini citizenship was withdrawn without due process. Bahraini authorities have obstructed Taimoor Karimi’s right of appeal and refused to justify the decision to revoke his citizenship. Taimoor Karimi has fought the order for three years, during which time he has lost his government-issued identification, job and bank account.
On 10 August 2014, the public prosecutor issued a court summons to Taimoor Karimi for “violations of asylum and immigration law” that include remaining in Bahrain without the residence licence that all non-nationals over 16 are required to have. Since the Appeal Court in Manama upheld his sentence on 23 May, he has been at imminent risk of expulsion from Bahrain.
The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the government of Bahrain to consider Articles 16 and 23 of the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
Article 16 states:
Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (b) are able to travel and to consult with their clients freely both within their own country and abroad; and (c) shall not suffer, or be threatened with, prosecution or administrative, economics or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics.